A californian beach-inspired kitchen

This contemporary open-plan kitchen is the perfect space to serve up vibrant social dinners
Sue Stubbs

On first appearance, this inviting kitchen in beachside Sydney oozes sunny Californian style, but when the homeowners are at the stove the vibe is distinctly Mediterranean. Part Italian, the couple entertain a lot and there is a proliferation of great food streaming from the kitchen. They enjoy sitting around the bench, chatting and having a drink while food is prepared and tasted as they go.


A fresh palette of yellow, grey and white – inspired by a trip they took to Palm Springs – sets the tone for the casual yet refined space. Walls painted in soft-hued Resene Sea Fog add distinction to the white benchtops and subway tiles, and stop the room from feeling stark. Open shelving allows canisters filled with everyday essentials to be accessed easily, while generous deep drawers keep surfaces clear of clutter.


The open-plan layout is the couple’s favourite aspect of the house. The kitchen flowing into the dining area is the most frequently used part of the house. 

(Credit: Sue Stubbs)

The tongue-and-groove panelling on the ceiling (for similar, try ‘Easyvj’ boards from Easycraft) brings just the right amount of texture and coastal charm without feeling kitsch. Creating lines that run parallel to each other, as in the ceiling boards, ceramic subway tiles and the tallowwood island bench, extends the feeling of space in the room. Timber open shelving adds an extra dose of warmth, reflecting the tones of the benchtop and flooring. 


Finishes with a lightweight quality, such as this plywood ‘Kina’ pendant by David Trubridge (try Mondo Luce) and the perforated stainless-steel fronts on the cabinetry, contribute to a feeling of spaciousness.

(Credit: Sue Stubbs)

The island bench is as hardworking as it is eye-catching. The cantilevered timber benchtop provides more seating space without adding bulk, keeping the kitchen feeling light and airy. Citrus-hued Tolix stools (try Matt Blatt for similar) contribute to the cheerful look. Beyond, the splashback of handmade subway tiles has a lovely textured finish which adds interest to the predominantly white walls.

(Credit: Sue Stubbs)

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